NeMLA Reads Together

Valeria Luiselli, "Lost Children Archive"

Valeria Luiselli. Credit: Alex Pieros.

Credit: Alex Pieros

"NeMLA Reads Together" promotes a novel written by our invited speaker for all our attendees to read during the year preceding our convention.

The cover to Valerie Luiselli's novel "Lost Children Archive" shows two children outdoors in a field with only a few trees and a building behind them. The bottom of the cover shows a chainlink fence. Bands of color cross the book cover horizontally. This novel is by the author of "Tell Me How It Ends" and is one of the "New York Times Book Review" 10 Best Books of 2019.

NeMLA's 53rd Annual Convention will feature Valeria Luiselli's novel Lost Children Archive. This fiercely imaginative novel is about a family whose road trip across America collides with an immigration crisis at the southwestern border--an indelible journey told with breathtaking imagery, spare lyricism, and profound humanity. 

A mother and father set out with their two children, a boy and a girl, driving from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. Their destination: Apacheria, the place the Apaches once called home. In their car, they play games and sing along to music. But on the radio, there is news about an "immigration crisis": thousands of kids trying to cross the southwestern border into the United States, but getting detained--or lost in the desert along the way. As the family drives--through Virginia to Tennessee, across Oklahoma and Texas--we sense they are on the brink of a crisis of their own. A fissure is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet. They are led, inexorably, to a grand, harrowing adventure--both in the desert landscape and within the chambers of their own imaginations. Told through several compelling voices, blending texts, sounds, and images, Lost Children Archive is an astonishing feat of literary virtuosity. It is a richly engaging story of how we document our experiences, and how we remember the things that matter to us the most. With urgency and empathy, it takes us deep into the lives of one remarkable family as it probes the nature of justice and equality today.

Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and of the Folio Prize, Lost Children Archive is one of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year. It is also listed as a Best Book of 2019 by Entertainment Weekly, TIME, NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, GQ, The Guardian, The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, and the New York Public Library.

NeMLA members are encouraged to read Lost Children Archive in preparation for the opening address and to submit a question they would like to ask the author.